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Sea Level: Is It Rising as a Result of the Melting of Land-Based Glacial Ice?
Carton, J.A., Giese, B.S. and Grodsky, S.A.  2005.  Sea level rise and the warming of the oceans in the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) ocean reanalysis.  Journal of Geophysical Research 110: 10.1029/2004JC002817.

The authors recount that "recent altimeter observations indicate an increase in the rate of sea level rise during the past decade to 3.2 mm/yr, well above the centennial estimate of 1.5-2 mm/yr," noting that "this apparent increase could have resulted from enhanced melting of continental ice," as climate alarmists often suggest, "or from decadal changes in thermosteric and halosteric effects."

What was done
Carton et al. explore this question "using the new eddy-permitting Simple Ocean Data Assimilation version 1.2 (SODA 1.2) reanalysis of global temperature, salinity, and sea level spanning the period 1968-2001."

What was learned
With respect to the halosteric effect, the three oceanographers report that "the effect on global sea level rise of changing salinity is small except in subpolar regions."  However, they found that warming-induced steric effects "are enough to explain much of the observed rate of increase in the rate of sea level rise in the last decade of the 20th century without need to invoke acceleration of melting of continental ice."

What it means
In harmony with the findings of Levitus et al. (2005) and Volkov and van Aken (2005), this team of scientists also finds no need to invoke the melting of land-based glacial ice to explain the observed increase in global sea-level rise of the past decade.  In addition, the studies of Johannessen et al. (2005) and Chinn et al. (2005) suggest there may not even have been a net melting of continental ice over this period.  Hence, there is no solid evidence for the climate-alarmist claim that the earth is on the verge of an unprecedented increase in global sea level as a result of what they contend is an unprecedented increase in global air temperature.

Chinn, T., Winkler, S., Salinger, M.J. and Haakensen, N.  2005.  Recent glacier advances in Norway and New Zealand: A comparison of their glaciological and meteorological causes.  Geografiska Annaler 87 A: 141-157.

Johannessen, O.M., Khvorostovsky, K., Miles, M.W. and Bobylev, L.P.  2005.  Recent ice-sheet growth in the interior of Greenland.  Sciencexpress / / 20 October 2005.

Levitus, S., Antonov, J.I., Boyer, T.P., Garcia, H.E. and Locarnini, R.A.  2005.  EOF analysis of upper ocean heat content, 1956-2003.  Geophysical Research Letters 32: 10.1029/2005GL023606/.

Volkov, D.L. and van Aken, H.M.  2005.  Climate-related change of sea level in the extratropical North Atlantic and North Pacific in 1993-2003.  Geophysical Research Letters 32: 10.1029/2005GL023097.

Reviewed 15 February 2006